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Tea time at Blackfriars

Passengers at Blackfriars station in London were surprised to be greeted with hot cups of tea on a cold day in January.

The power to brew the free tea was provided by the solar panels on the new roof. The 4,400 photovoltaic panels cover the roof of the station and produce enough energy to make almost 80,000 cups of tea a day. In fact the solar panel roof provides up to half of the station’s energy.

The revamped Blackfriars station now boasts a new entrance on the south bank of the Thames, four new platforms and a redeveloped Underground station, able to accommodate longer trains and provide a better interchange between First Capital Connect and London Underground services. Blackfriars sits at the heart of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme.

Says Simon Kirby, managing director of Network Rail Infrastructure Projects, ‘The dramatic transformation of Blackfriars station from a small and cramped station to a modern landmark is typical of how we are enhancing one of Europe’s busiest rail routes – using smart, sustainable technology to reduce the cost of running the railway at the same time as giving passengers the longer, more frequent trains that are so desperately needed.’

Solar power can be included into major engineering projects says Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury, which installed the panels. ‘Our work at Blackfriars demonstrates two key benefits of solar. First, it can be integrated into the architecture to create a stunning addition to London’s skyline. Second, it can be integrated into the most complex of engineering projects; in this case being built above a construction site, over a rail track, over a river,’ Mr van den Heuvel said.

‘We are confident that future major infrastructure projects can and will benefit from solar,’ he added.

The power to brew the free tea was provided by the solar panels on the new roof. The 4,400 photovoltaic panels cover the roof of the station and produce enough energy to make almost 80,000 cups of tea a day. In fact the solar panel roof provides up to half of the station’s energy.

The revamped Blackfriars station now boasts a new entrance on the south bank of the Thames, four new platforms and a redeveloped Underground station, able to accommodate longer trains and provide a better interchange between First Capital Connect and London Underground services. Blackfriars sits at the heart of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme.

Says Simon Kirby, managing director of Network Rail Infrastructure Projects, ‘The dramatic transformation of Blackfriars station from a small and cramped station to a modern landmark is typical of how we are enhancing one of Europe’s busiest rail routes – using smart, sustainable technology to reduce the cost of running the railway at the same time as giving passengers the longer, more frequent trains that are so desperately needed.’

Solar power can be included into major engineering projects says Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury, which installed the panels. ‘Our work at Blackfriars demonstrates two key benefits of solar. First, it can be integrated into the architecture to create a stunning addition to London’s skyline. Second, it can be integrated into the most complex of engineering projects; in this case being built above a construction site, over a rail track, over a river,’ Mr van den Heuvel said.

‘We are confident that future major infrastructure projects can and will benefit from solar,’ he added.

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